Celebrating Anushka Sharma, The Fearless Feminist Content Producer

Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma during the promotion of her upcoming film 'Dil Dhadakne Do' at the Mahalaxmi Race Course, on May 3, 2015, in Mumbai, India. (Photo by Pramod Thakur/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Five years and five compelling stories. It is high time that we celebrate Anushka Sharma’s fearless, feminist and fabulous choices in backing content-heavy cinematic experience.

It is not only important to see, understand and acknowledge the content that is coming out from Clean Slate Films, it is imperative that we celebrate it – and we will give you Five Reasons Why you need to do so right now!

Storytellers we need today

It was the feminist action thriller NH10 in 2015 that started the journey for co-producers and sister-brother duo, Anushka and Karnesh Sharma. They have continued to surprise us with stories that stay with us, and make us reflect upon our acceptance of certain deeply rooted problems in our society.

Anushka Sharma with her brother and co-owner of Clean Slate Films Karnesh Sharma

For a film industry and audience that have grown to love tropes like item numbers, demi-god like hero beating up baddies in highly stylised action sequences, damsels in distress, sexist jokes, quick remixes of songs and stories, Clean Slate Films have managed to say important stories without relying on the tried-and-tested tricks to pull the audience.

Experiments with the supernatural

Through her production house, Anushka has been exploring her interest in the paranormal too.

Official poster of the film, Pari

Supernatural element met romance in Phillauri (2017) whereas it was purely spooky in Pari (2018), and these experiments eventually gave us the gem called Bulbbul (2020).

Horror has been a severely under-developed space in Bollywood otherwise, with vanilla ghost possession sagas being the norm. A story like Bulbbul stands out because it forces us to identify the demons who live among us and have been inflicting unspeakable actual horror on women for centuries. Through these films, team Clean Slate Films has been successful in showing Bollywood the various layers one can explore in the supernatural genre.   

They have a keen eye for talent

Every film or web-series that have come out from Anushka’s wonder factory has been headlined and supported by talent that fits the story. Across their four films and one web series, every story has had a healthy mix of established faces and newcomers, or often faces that we are aware of but have not really seen doing a meaty enough role to know their actual potential - case in point - Jaideep Ahlawat in Paatal Lok, Tripti Dimri in Bulbbul and Parambrata Chatterjee in Pari and Bulbbul.

A still from the film, Bulbbul

And the norm isn’t restricted to the actors. Team Clean Slate has showcased the directorial debut of lyricist-screenwriter Anvita Dutt (who wrote and directed Bulbbul), Prosit Roy (Co-wrote and directed Pari and co-directed Paatal Lok), and National award-winning music composer Shashwat Sachdev who made his debut with Phillauri. 

Smart use of star power

While stories coming out of her production house are not dependent on her screen power, Anushka has been very smart in using her star power to make these stories travel. All the material gets heavily promoted on her social media accounts, leveraging her 50 million+ fan base.

From putting the spotlight on Paatal Lok using her memorable filmy characters to shifting the focus on Bulbbul by adding the red of the blood moon to her pictures and videos…

or interlinking her personal and professional growth to the stories she tells, Anushka and her team have been super slick with their promotion techniques.

Also noteworthy is the fact that being in a box-office obsessed industry, Anushka herself starred in unconventional projects like NH10, Phillauri and Pari to help them sail through and reach a wider audience.  

They are cool and will school all-things sexist and stupid

 Anushka makes you root for her with the way she handles trolls and detractors. She has cultivated an image of being a doer, and will shut the haters up with her sassy replies.

“I am more than capable of producing and promoting my own films” – How often do we get to see a woman owning her success like the way she does! And if you still need more reasons, we suggest you catch all their films right now and decide for yourself.   


 (Edited by Athira Nair)

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